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Installing openCFS

openCFS runs on Linux, macOS and Windows. You can download binary Packages for most releases. Below you find instructions for your operating system.


We provide openCFS including all dependencies in a single archive. The software should run on any recent Linux system.

To install, just download the most recent archive, e.g. the latest release package Linux binary (tar.gz), and extract it to the desired location.

tar -xzvf CFS-Linux.tar.gz

This will extract to CFS-<release>-Linux where <release> denotes the version. The executables are found in the bin directory of the installation, e.g. in the directory CFS-<release>-Linux/bin. You can add this directory to your PATH by running

export PATH=<absolute-cfs-installation-path>/bin:$PATH

To make this persistent add it to the configuration file of your shell, e.g. to ~/.bashrc for bash.

You can now run cfs by

cfs -h


We provide openCFS including a subsection of dependencies in a single archive. For structural optimization you shall download the snopt and scip source from the respective code authors and compile openCFS yourself.

The provided binary is built with recent macOS (Intel) and not tested on former platforms.

For further help please follow the Linux instructions

Download a snapshot from March 2021 via this link CFS-macOS_2021_03.tar.gz


To install openCFS on windows first download the latest portable Windows release. After downloading extract it to the desired location, for example to C:\Users\username\CFS\. You can now follow the instructions below to add the openCFS directory to the PATH to be able to use it in the command prompt:

  • Open Control Panel
  • In upper right corner in the search bar type in edit environment variables.
  • Select Edit environment variables for your account if you want to make it accessible only to your account.
  • In the upper window part you will see a Variable named Path, double click on it.
  • Copy the path to the bin directory from where you extracted the openCFS archive (e.g. : C:\Users\username\CFS\bin).
  • In the new opened window click on New and paste the path that you previously coppied.
  • Click on ok after pasting and then again ok on the Environment variables window.
  • You should be done now, to test it open a command prompt and type cfs --help, you should see an openCFS help page in your command prompt.

Windows - WSL

An alternative for running openCFS on Windows is the usage of WSL. It lets one run a Linux environment on Windows without the overhead of a VM, or dual-boot setup. For the installation, please follow the provided guide Manual-WSL-Installation. It is recommended to use the Ubuntu distribution, since this is tested, but it should run on all distribution.
After the installation of WSL and the distribution the Linux guide on installing openCFS can be followed.
Please note that it could be necessary to change the permissions of the cfs folder. This can be done with sudo chmod -R 755 /cfs_dir.

It is possible that a shared library is missing from within the ubunut WSL ( It can be installed with sudo apt install libgomp1

Afterwards it is possible to call openCFS from within powershell via wsl bash -c -i cfs --help

To get GUI applications running in WSL, one can use XLaunch. For further details, there are different tutorials like 1, 2.